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by GREYDOG

William Blum: The Anti-Empire Report #127: Indoctrinating a New Generation

4:43 am in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

By William Blum99GetSmart

Indoctrinating a new generation

Is there anyone out there who still believes that Barack Obama, when he’s speaking about American foreign policy, is capable of being anything like an honest man? In a March 26 talk in Belgium to “European youth”, the president fed his audience one falsehood, half-truth, blatant omission, or hypocrisy after another. If George W. Bush had made some of these statements, Obama supporters would not hesitate to shake their head, roll their eyes, or smirk. Here’s a sample:

– “In defending its actions, Russian leaders have further claimed Kosovo as a precedent – an example they say of the West interfering in the affairs of a smaller country, just as they’re doing now. But NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years.”

Most people who follow such things are convinced that the 1999 US/NATO bombing of the Serbian province of Kosovo took place only after the Serbian-forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic deportations of large numbers of people did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a reaction to it, born of Serbia’s extreme anger and powerlessness over the bombing. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, 1999, and the few days following. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:

… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would now vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation. [emphasis added]

On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that nature.

But the propaganda version is already set in marble.

– “And Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized, not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations and with Kosovo’s neighbors. None of that even came close to happening in Crimea.”

None of that even came close to happening in Kosovo either. The story is false. The referendum the president speaks of never happened. Did the mainstream media pick up on this or on the previous example? If any reader comes across such I’d appreciate being informed.

Crimea, by the way, did have a referendum. A real one.

– “Workers and engineers gave life to the Marshall Plan … As the Iron Curtain fell here in Europe, the iron fist of apartheid was unclenched, and Nelson Mandela emerged upright, proud, from prison to lead a multiracial democracy. Latin American nations rejected dictatorship and built new democracies … “

The president might have mentioned that the main beneficiary of the Marshall Plan was US corporations 1, that the United States played an indispensable role in Mandela being caught and imprisoned, and that virtually all the Latin American dictatorships owed their very existence to Washington. Instead, the European youth were fed the same party line that their parents were fed, as were all Americans.

– “Yes, we believe in democracy – with elections that are free and fair.”

In this talk, the main purpose of which was to lambaste the Russians for their actions concerning Ukraine, there was no mention that the government overthrown in that country with the clear support of the United States had been democratically elected.

– “Moreover, Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. … But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state that could make decisions about its own future.”

The US did not get UN Security Council approval for its invasion, the only approval that could legitimize the action. It occupied Iraq from one end of the country to the other for 8 years, forcing the government to privatize the oil industry and accept multinational – largely U.S.-based, oil companies’ – ownership. This endeavor was less than successful because of the violence unleashed by the invasion. The US military finally was forced to leave because the Iraqi government refused to give immunity to American soldiers for their many crimes.

Here is a brief summary of what Barack Obama is attempting to present as America’s moral superiority to the Russians:

The modern, educated, advanced nation of Iraq was reduced to a quasi failed state … the Americans, beginning in 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one dubious excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, tortured without inhibition, killed wantonly … the people of that unhappy land lost everything – their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives … More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile … The air, soil, water, blood, and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lying in wait for children to pick them up … a river of blood running alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again. … “It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003,” reported the Washington Post. (May 5, 2007)

How can all these mistakes, such arrogance, hypocrisy and absurdity find their way into a single international speech by the president of the United States? Is the White House budget not sufficient to hire a decent fact checker? Someone with an intellect and a social conscience? Or does the desire to score propaganda points trump everything else? Is this another symptom of the Banana-Republicization of America?

Long live the Cold War

In 1933 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized the Soviet Union after some 15 years of severed relations following the Bolshevik Revolution. On a day in December of that year, a train was passing through Poland carrying the first American diplomats dispatched to Moscow. Amongst their number was a 29 year-old Foreign Service Officer, later to become famous as a diplomat and scholar, George Kennan. Though he was already deemed a government expert on Russia, the train provided Kennan’s first actual exposure to the Soviet Union. As he listened to his group’s escort, Russian Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov, reminisce about growing up in a village the train was passing close by, and his dreams of becoming a librarian, the Princeton-educated Kennan was astonished: “We suddenly realized, or at least I did, that these people we were dealing with were human beings like ourselves, that they had been born somewhere, that they had their childhood ambitions as we had. It seemed for a brief moment we could break through and embrace these people.” 2

It hasn’t happened yet.

One would think that the absence in Russia of communism, of socialism, of the basic threat or challenge to the capitalist system, would be sufficient to write finis to the 70-year Cold War mentality. But the United States is virtually as hostile to 21st-century Russia as it was to 20th-century Soviet Union, surrounding Moscow with military bases, missile sites, and NATO members. Why should that be? Ideology is no longer a factor. But power remains one, specifically America’s perpetual lust for world hegemony. Russia is the only nation that (a) is a military powerhouse, and (b) doesn’t believe that the United States has a god-given-American-exceptionalism right to rule the world, and says so. By these criteria, China might qualify as a poor second. But there are no others.

Washington pretends that it doesn’t understand why Moscow should be upset by Western military encroachment, but it has no such problem when roles are reversed. Secretary of State John Kerry recently stated that Russian troops poised near eastern Ukraine are “creating a climate of fear and intimidation in Ukraine” and raising questions about Russia’s next moves and its commitment to diplomacy. 3

NATO – ever in need of finding a raison d’être – has now issued a declaration of [cold] war, which reads in part:

“NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday [April 1, 2014] reaffirmed their commitment to enhance the Alliance’s collective defence, agreed to further support Ukraine and to suspend NATO’s practical cooperation with Russia. ‘NATO’s greatest responsibility is to protect and defend our territory and our people. And make no mistake, this is what we will do,’ NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. … Ministers directed Allied military authorities to develop additional measures to strengthen collective defence and deterrence against any threat of aggression against the Alliance, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said. ‘We will make sure we have updated military plans, enhanced exercises and appropriate deployments,’ he said. NATO has already reinforced its presence on the eastern border of the Alliance, including surveillance patrols over Poland and Romania and increased numbers of fighter aircraft allocated to the NATO air policing mission in the Baltic States. … NATO Foreign Ministers also agreed to suspend all of NATO’s practical cooperation with Russia.” 4

Does anyone recall what NATO said in 2003 when the United States bombed and invaded Iraq with “shock and awe”, compared to the Russians now not firing a single known shot at anyone? And neither Russia nor Ukraine is even a member of NATO. Does NATO have a word to say about the right-wing coup in Ukraine, openly supported by the United States, overthrowing the elected government? Did the hypocrisy get any worse during the Cold War? Imagine that NATO had not been created in 1949. Imagine that it has never existed. What reason could one give today for its creation? Other than to provide a multi-national cover for Washington’s interventions.

One of the main differences between now and the Cold War period is that Americans at home are (not yet) persecuted or prosecuted for supporting Russia or things Russian.

But don’t worry, folks, there won’t be a big US-Russian war. For the same reason there wasn’t one during the Cold War. The United States doesn’t pick on any country which can defend itself.

Cuba … Again … Still … Forever

Is there actually a limit? Will the United States ever stop trying to overthrow the Cuban government? Entire books have been written documenting the unrelenting ways Washington has tried to get rid of tiny Cuba’s horrid socialism – from military invasion to repeated assassination attempts to an embargo that President Clinton’s National Security Advisor called “the most pervasive sanctions ever imposed on a nation in the history of mankind” 5. But nothing has ever come even close to succeeding. The horrid socialism keeps on inspiring people all over the world. It’s the darnedest thing. Can providing people free or remarkably affordable health care, education, housing, food and culture be all that important?

And now it’s “Cuban Twitter” – an elaborately complex system set up by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to disguise its American origins and financing, aiming to bring about a “Cuban Spring” uprising. USAID sought to first “build a Cuban audience, mostly young people; then the plan was to push them toward dissent”, hoping the messaging network “would reach critical mass so that dissidents could organize ‘smart mobs’ – mass gatherings called at a moment’s notice – that might trigger political demonstrations or ‘renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society’.” 6 It’s too bad it’s now been exposed, because we all know how wonderful the Egyptian, Syrian, Libyan, and other “Arab Springs” have turned out.

Here’s USAID speaking after their scheme was revealed on April 3: “Cubans were able to talk among themselves, and we are proud of that.”  7 We are thus asked to believe that normally the poor downtrodden Cubans have no good or safe way to communicate with each other. Is the US National Security Agency working for the Cuban government now?

The Associated Press, which broke the story, asks us further to believe that the “truth” about most things important in the world is being kept from the Cuban people by the Castro regime, and that the “Cuban Twitter” would have opened people’s eyes. But what information might a Cuban citizen discover online that the government would not want him to know about? I can’t imagine. Cubans are in constant touch with relatives in the US, by mail and in person. They get US television programs from Miami and other southern cities; both CNN and Telesur (Venezuela, covering Latin America) are seen regularly on Cuban television”; international conferences on all manner of political, economic and social issues are held regularly in Cuba. I’ve spoken at more than one myself. What – it must be asked – does USAID, as well as the American media, think are the great dark secrets being kept from the Cuban people by the nasty commie government?

Those who push this line sometimes point to the serious difficulty of using the Internet in Cuba. The problem is that it’s extremely slow, making certain desired usages often impractical. From an American friend living in Havana: “It’s not a question of getting or not getting internet. I get internet here. The problem is downloading something or connecting to a link takes too long on the very slow connection that exists here, so usually I/we get ‘timed out’.” But the USAID’s “Cuban Twitter”, after all, could not have functioned at all without the Internet.

Places like universities, upscale hotels, and Internet cafés get better connections, at least some of the time; however, it’s rather expensive to use at the hotels and cafés.

In any event, this isn’t a government plot to hide dangerous information. It’s a matter of technical availability and prohibitive cost, both things at least partly in the hands of the United States and American corporations. Microsoft, for example, at one point, if not at present, barred Cuba from using its Messenger instant messaging service. 8

Cuba and Venezuela have jointly built a fiber optic underwater cable connection that they hope will make them less reliant on the gringos; the outcome of this has not yet been reported in much detail.

The grandly named Agency for International Development does not have an honorable history; this can perhaps be captured by a couple of examples: In 1981, the agency’s director, John Gilligan, stated: “At one time, many AID field offices were infiltrated from top to bottom with CIA people. The idea was to plant operatives in every kind of activity we had overseas, government, volunteer, religious, every kind.” 9

On June 21, 2012, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) issued a resolution calling for the immediate expulsion of USAID from their nine member countries, “due to the fact that we consider their presence and actions to constitute an interference which threatens the sovereignty and stability of our nations.”

USAID, the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy (and the latter’s subsidiaries), together or singly, continue to be present at regime changes, or attempts at same, favorable to Washington, from “color revolutions” to “spring” uprisings, producing a large measure of chaos and suffering for our tired old world.

Notes

  1. William Blum, America’s Deadliest Export – Democracy: The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else, p.22-5
  2. Walter Isaacson & Evan Thomas, The Wise Men (1986), p.158
  3. Washington Post, March 31, 2014
  4. NATO takes measures to reinforce collective defence, agrees on support for Ukraine”, NATO website, April 1, 2014
  5. Sandy Berger, White House press briefing, November 14, 1997, US Newswire transcript
  6. Associated Press, April 3 & 4, 2014
  7. Washington Post, April 4, 2014
  8. Associated Press, June 2, 2009
  9. George Cotter, “Spies, strings and missionaries”, The Christian Century(Chicago), March 25, 1981, p.321

by GREYDOG

Turkey: Police No Longer Make Excuses for Brutality

5:44 am in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Police violence has become widespread in Turkey. On the night of Saturday August 3rd there was a call on Twitter with the #MilyonlarTaksime (Millions to Taksim) hashtag to protest the closing of Gezi Park again in Taksim. As can be understood from the “Millions,” this was simply a case of “trolling” aimed at manipulating the Governor of Istanbul and police to take unnecessary precautions out of fear that that many people might actually show up. However the Governor and the chief of police in Istanbul took measures; thousands of riot police and over a dozen TOMAs (Riot Intervention Vehicles) and “Spiders,” which are rapid shooters to disperse riot crowds, were brought in.

As the streets were empty of protesters, police chased the “invisible men,” running up and down streets, which started a random protest by people who had been walking around and shopping. A few dozen people started randomly shouting without drawing attention to themselves and these few protesters faced intervention by police with truncheons and water cannons. TOMAs started spraying chemicals on people randomly on Istiklal Avenue and by the end of the night 40 people had been detained.

While all this was happening around Gezi Park, police went out hunting “protesters.” They started to attack civilians with colored rubber bullets. When it became obvious that the protest was not actually taking place, they started to spray tourists with water cannons. They detained a person who was sitting and smoking and they intimidated him because he was smoking publicly during the month of Ramadan, when many people are fasting in accordance with Islamic beliefs.

In addition to these incidents, police beat and detained two elderly people who were sitting in a restaurant, for no apparent reason. All this is proof of the fact that police do not even try to legitimize their illegitimate interventions, although earlier last month they had been excused by officials stating that the policemen were “overtired and nervous” and thus had attacked civilians with excessive force, unleashing all the terror and brutality.

Read the rest of this entry →

by GREYDOG

Facebook Squashes Online Dissent of Turkish Opposition

5:11 am in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan, from Istanbul:

Facebook 'F' logo

Did Facebook collaborate with Erdogan to squash online dissent?

Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim had announced some weeks ago that Twitter did not respond positively to a “cooperation” agreement to determine and spot those who get involved in “criminal activities” by expressing their views online. This statement’s rhetoric would make any reader feel that Facebook is cooperating with the Turkish government, and it was Twitter that was declared a menace to society by Prime Minister Erdogan. The flow of information and the pace at which news spread nationally as well as internationally must have been felt deeply, and initially it was the Metropolitan Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbas who requested that the Gezi Park protesters tweet in English saying that “everything is fine in Istanbul and life is back to normal.”

Not long after this “request” came threats and rumors that opposition pages would be closed down on Facebook as soon as possible but definitely before the elections – mainly citizen journalismleftistKurdishAlevi religious or LGBT pages. Although one might not want to believe in this possibility, apparently it was true that dozens of pages that reflect an alternative to the government’s rhetoric on the Internet have been closed down for no valid reason (the reason given for the closing down of some news sources was that they share pornographic content).

In order to protest this process of silencing opposition voices on Facebook, many users have been involved in a series of digital protests mainly involving twitter hashtags, penguin spamming (of Facebook’s official page), ad boycotting, and lastly a 24-hour account deactivation boycott on July 21. Even after these actions, Facebook does not seem to have heard the voice of the Turkish opposition and repeatedly closes down reserve pages of the same titles (which used to have hundreds of thousands of followers), this time not even giving a reason.

The cyber-army of government-leaning hackers have been terrorizing the social-media platforms through the use of an excessive number of fake accounts, organizing spam attacks and filing complaint reports about opposition pages stating that they are promoting sexual content. As Facebook has been avoiding any involvement in fighting hate speech and instigation to violence on hate groups, it actually now contributes to the ongoing “digitocide” happening in the cyber-lands of Gezi Park.

Among the pages that have been closed down are Ötekilerin Postasi (the biggest citizen journalism platform in Turkey that has broken the news of many big events that the mainstream media shunned), DurDe (an unofficial NGO that aims to prevent hate speech and hate crimes), BDP (one of the parliamentary parties, representing mainly the Kurdish population in the country), and Carsi (football fans, mainly of Besiktas). All these groups and pages in total welcomed millions of users, who are not giving up and continue to “like” the new pages. Read the rest of this entry →

by GREYDOG

Another Victim of Turkey’s Ruling Party: 19-year-old Ali is Dead

6:13 pm in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan, from Istanbul

Update from Turkey 10 July 2013:

Excessive use of force by police was already unbearable for peaceful protesters in Gezi Park. The addition of AKP-leaning mobs, armed with clubs, knives, machetes, and pistols, seems like a paramilitary force of the party terrorizing the streets. Another young man has fallen in this rape of civil life; Ali Ismail Korkmaz was only 19 years old, and was to be a student at Eskisehir Anadolu University.

His father gave an interview and described his son as quiet and political. Ali had never been to a political rally before, saw the group cheering and shouting, wondered, and joined them, and notified his father of his attendance so that he would not worry. When the police intervention on the peaceful protest began, he was hit on the head with a truncheon and then started running away from the beatings and teargas, friends later told his father.

He ran away from riot police while they were shooting gas canisters, aiming at him, and ran into a side street. The street Ali took refuge in was filled with angry mobs that some people consider to be undercover policemen, who were acting parallel to the riot police, and beating people in the shadows. Ali was mercilessly beaten and then left to his destiny. Exhausted as he was, he crawled to a bus stop to go back home when he could. As he reached the bus stop he came across another group of thugs and was again beaten, till unconscious.

When his friends found him by chance, they took him to a hospital where he was denied entrance as the hospital lacked sufficient equipment to detect his condition. He was sent to another hospital where he was denied treatment without first checking in with police headquarters, giving his statement about the protests and why he was beaten. Only after police gave orders for him to go to the hospital could he be treated.

It took him 20 hours to be accepted by the hospital, and only after he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and had to be taken to the intensive care unit. His father says he was unable to look at his son due to the horrible condition he was in.

Between the night of June 2 and today, Ali has suffered much pain, as did millions of people who were wishing to see him return to life. He did not make it. Another life had to fade due to violence.

When Ali’s father demanded that the people responsible be found, he found out that the video footage was supposedly defective and was useless. The police department had got the video footage from a hotel nearby, kept the record for a few days for security reasons and then declared in a report that the video had malfunctioned. The hotel manager stated that he had checked the video himself and that it was working. Thus police could not start a proper investigation and the case could not refer to an anonymous person as guilty.

Having seen no initiative from the police department or any attempt by the governor to calm the family down, Ali’s father is preparing to file a complaint to a number of courts to seek justice, including the European Court of Human Rights.

Now his father summarizes the situation, “Police gassed, mobs beat, hospital refused, doctors ignored, video footage erased, investigation halted, my son dead.”

MORE STORIES by Gürkan Özturan @ http://radicaldemocrat.blog.com

MORE UPDATES RE: TURKEY @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

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by GREYDOG

Express Law: Closing Down NGOs that do not reflect Government Ambitions

7:39 am in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan, from Istanbul

Prime Minister Erdogan

Erdogan imposes new laws late at night to target political opponents.

Update from Turkey 10 July 2013:

Turkish PM Erdogan: “Separation of powers is an obstacle for our plans” 17.12.2012

AKP’s controversial midnight passing of laws have been regarded with infamy. This one focused on a “retaliation law” that was prepared urgently in a short time, to close down NGOs that do not share the same views as the governing AKP. The law passed with the AKP majority and even though all opposition deputies were present there, they were not able to stop the government as they have a landslide majority in the parliament resulting from the faulty election threshold of 10%.

According to the new law, NGOs (namely the professional chambers) will not be allowed to check on government (local or central) plans and decisions, they will not be asked their advice in their fields of expertise, and they will not be allowed to have a sustainable budget. This basically kills all the work of many proactive NGOs that have checked and tried to balance the excessively destructive plans of the government over the last years, though without much success.

The most recent restrictive law came as a harsh blow against Turkey’s Chamber of Engineers & Architects, TMMOB, which successfully formed Taksim Solidarity and prevented the government from demolishing Gezi Park while there was a court decision to protect the park. As a majority of management people from several influential NGOs and Unions are under detention and their homes were raided by police without a court order, the NGOs were left with only the young members who mobilized social media and started campaigns to stop this law from passing or being approved by President Gül.

Many protesters consider the practice of midnight legislation, dawn raids against civilians, and excessive use of force as indicators of a civilian coup by AKP, which has dominated all separate powers of the state except for civil society, and with this new law has managed to silence all NGOs. While in the legislative arena this is happening, on the streets of Tophane, just down from Taksim, paramilitary forces that support AKP and riot police are forming up gangs to “protect their neighborhood.” These people join and follow the riot police during the raids, holding up clubs and sticks and even some with machetes and pistols, threatening civilians.

MORE STORIES by Gürkan Özturan @ http://radicaldemocrat.blog.com

MORE UPDATES RE: TURKEY @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Read the rest of this entry →

by GREYDOG

Turkey: More Police Violence; Attacks on Academics and Professionals

5:25 am in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan, from Istanbul

Update from Turkey 9 July 2013:

It was the day of the grand opening, after a day of postponement by the government due to Saturday night’s police intervention in Gezi Park. The Governor, Mayor and many other AKP officials were present at Gezi Park alongside over 200 journalists asking questions. The police did not allow too many civilians in the park during the opening ceremony. As the Mayor called for an end to all kinds of protests and blamed the peaceful protesters for provoking police to turn violent, someone in the crowd asked “Will we be allowed to kiss in the park, I would love to show my affection to my wife with a simple kiss” to which the governor replied “If society allows it…”

The reopening of the park was welcomed by thousands of people. So many of them wanted to see the park over which four people were killed, dozens left without an eye, dozens are still in critical condition, over 9,000 injured and hundreds under arrest. There were seniors, disabled persons and children present in the park when police started evacuating not only the park but the Taksim district. The park had been open for just two hours when police announced that all shops would be closed in a pre-emptive action. Some shop owners did close down, some others did not. Then came gas, water cannons and shooter-panzers called “spiders.”

The view in Taksim looked as if the police were playing video games with unlimited ammunition. Rubber bullets and water cannons were shooting anyone that moved and those staying in their homes were hardly able to breathe due to excessive use of gas. Once again, there was intervention without a reason, later responded to in a declaration by Taksim Solidarity (TS).

TS announced that they would read a press statement at 7p.m. regarding the opening of the park, the guaranteeing of civil liberties and freedoms, police violence, and the arrest of so many people, as well as commemorations of the persons killed. Before they could even start reading the press statement, they were detained by police. Many intellectuals, academics, professionals, artists, and politicians were detained by force.

In the meantime Istanbul Technical University’s graduation ceremony was attacked by AKP mobs with clubs and stones, chanting the name of PM Erdogan. Later on, water cannons and riot police took over the campus area and prevented any further protest by attacked people. This amounted to another form of pressure on academia, after last week’s forced resignation or detaining of professors.

One other significant event of the evening was a man, dressed very similarly to the machete man, shooting a pistol in Taksim. People ran away, and hid behind blocks from bullets. When he was gone, someone collected the empty shells and brought them to the police, asking them to investigate the incident and arrest the man with the gun. The person who brought the empty shells and filed a complaint was detained for protesting and disturbing the public peace.

As all this happened, the Turkish media turned towards Egypt and on all TV channels that did not show penguin documentaries or nightly TV contest shows, there were discussions concerning the security problems in Egypt. Turkish officials gave out remarks stating “It cannot be justifiable nor defended when a government directs guns at its own citizens – that are paid for by those citizens.” The irony in this statement caused anger among protesters as they were getting shot with rubber bullets at close range, hit by water cannons, or gassed.

The headquarters of several civil-society and professional organizations were raided, including the TS building where a meeting was being held by non-detained members and supporters concerning the detention of well-known persons, including Mücella Yapici, secretary of the Istanbul Chamber of Architects.

Lastly, around midnight when the park was opened again for public use and people’s forum was established to discuss their problems, the police troops started marching on side streets in residential neighborhoods, shouting the infamous slogans commonly used by military troops such as “All is for the fatherland” or “Blood spilled for the fatherland”. This kind of behavior has been present especially in the southeastern Kurdish cities with military parades in city centers as part of psychological pressure for decades. Now the conditions for “state of emergency” seem to be applied in Istanbul too.

Read the rest of this entry →

by GREYDOG

Turkish Machete Democracy: “Saturday Night Gas”

10:23 am in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan, from Istanbul

Update from Turkey 8 July 2013:

As part of a weekly routine, Istanbul experienced yet another weekend of police violence when thousands of people wanted to visit Gezi Park, having received the court decision to keep it as a park and after the Governor declared it “open to public visiting.” Except that no one is allowed there other than police… Once again, it was a crowd of many different people – children, seniors, disabled people, students, men, women, anti-capitalist Muslims, LGBT communities, leftists, nationalists… And once again they all faced excessive police violence, upon the Minister of Interior’s declaration that “no protest can ever be allowed, and of course we will disperse any crowd that gathers.”

Thus the democratic rights of civilians were put on the shelf, and thousands of policemen and undercover agents started arresting anyone around. Cafes and restaurants got their fair share of tear gas while people were hit by water cannons on streets. When a new weekend crackdown was added to the already long list, it proved to be one that has expanded in scope.

When protesters said “It’s not just Gezi Park any more,” no one would expect the same phrase to be used by government officials as well. It cannot be the park any more; nothing can explain this hatred that targets popular tourist destinations, the heart of night life and the center of cultural zones in and around Taksim.

People were subjected to tear gas, they were hit with nightsticks for simply enjoying a few drinks in cafes and bars. People were being shot by plastic bullets from a distance of 50 centimeters, and if they complained of violence they were beaten more. Many journalists experienced violence, and their already harsh working conditions were made harder. As police were detaining the protesters who were gathering to mimic water cannons through a water-gun fight game, several people with machetes appeared and attacked people on the streets.

When the machete-wielding men started attacking people on the street, no one dared to stop them. The police did not even intervene, as they were busy detaining protesters, gassing children in the park, and chasing after disabled people. When finally, after much uproar from protesters, the machete men were detained, they were quickly brought to court… where they were released.

Yet on Friday night when the AKP organized a rally to protest the military coup in Egypt, there was no police intervention against the blocking of traffic or disturbing the public peace at midnight, or against the vandalism against the Egyptian consulate building. With these double standards prevailing, another event was organized on Sunday under the name “Gassed Man Festival,” in Kadikoy, where hundreds of thousands of people who had enjoyed a good amount of tear gas before cheered with protesting bands and musicians.

While all this is happening in the larger frame, on a more specific basis, journalists and bloggers are being accused of “espionage” for unspecified “international alliances,” and people continue being targeted.

MORE STORIES by Gürkan Özturan @ http://radicaldemocrat.blog.com

MORE UPDATES RE: TURKEY @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND DAILY UPDATES ON TURKEY:

OccupyGezi @ https://www.rebelmouse.com/OccupyGezi/

Show Support for Turkey and LIKE and SHARE this Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/Gezisolidarity

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by GREYDOG

Turkey: Citizen Journalism Under Attack; Facebook Collaborates

5:17 am in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan, from Istanbul

Update from Turkey 7 July 2013:

The Bar Association in Izmir organized a press conference stating that the Twitter arrests in the aftermath of the Gezi protests were based on illegally gathered information and no court decision. The police had staged a pre-emptive arrest of the authors of digital content in the absence of a direct order to even investigate the situation, finding evidence of any obvious criminal act, or a judge’s order to carry out these arrests.

The Bar’s report stated “Police officers, without a court warrant, logged into the Twitter and Facebook accounts of several people, went through and saved their message/sharing history. This happened in the absence of a court ruling to pursue these people, even when there was no need to determine their IP addresses. People were arrested out of suspicion and assumptions in pre-emptive manner.”

Currently these acts are considered unlawful; yet there are further developments to criminalize use of Twitter for political communication and in times of protests. A new bill soon to be passed in the parliament will enable the Turkish National Intelligence Agency to go over all information online, without needing any court ruling to investigate any event, using anyone as an informant to mobilize agents to spy on civilians’ Internet usage. The Bar Association’s declaration ends with the summary, “We are all being watched, we are all being filed.”

The Others’ Post

A popular citizen-journalist paper called Ötekilerin Postasi (The Others’ Post) has been the source of public news for a long time. It was the one to break the news that the mainstream media were reluctant to even consider publishing. It has been a good long journey with Ötekilerin Postasi until digital lynching campaigns were carried out systematically to ban their page from the social networks.

While the Facebook page of the Ötekilerin Postasi had 138,000 follower/reporters, a digital lynching campaign achieved success in getting Facebook to ban the page. A Facebook notice stated that the page is no longer active and has been taken down due to its spreading of nudity, porn or sexual content – which is not the case with a political digital newspaper.

While hundreds of hate groups and pages that target individuals, places, and groups of socially marginalized people (such as LGBT communities) are allowed by Facebook to operate and spread their hate speech online, the sole alternative citizen journalist platform for Turkish readers has been closed down.

At the moment online activists – after carrying out a “penguin campaign” for CNN Turk, filling their Facebook page with penguin smilies – are considering starting a new campaign to draw attention to Facebook’s double standards and its acting without consideration. The activists are considering a new set of penguin campaigns, boycotting Facebook advertisements or even closing down their accounts – which adds up to millions of people.

Digital media is the only platform where information spreads freely to millions of people. Although the government’s intervention against freedom of information and speech are handicapping this, it is even more harmful when organized civilian attacks are carried out against these freedoms and liberties.

MORE STORIES by Gürkan Özturan @ http://radicaldemocrat.blog.com

MORE UPDATES RE: TURKEY @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND DAILY UPDATES ON TURKEY:

OccupyGezi @ https://www.rebelmouse.com/OccupyGezi/

Show Support for Turkey and LIKE and SHARE this Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/Gezisolidarity

FOR DAILY LIVESTREAM UPDATES ON TURKEY AND WORLD EVENTS:

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by GREYDOG

Turkey: Gezi Gains, Yet Justice Loses in General

6:07 am in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Occupy Solidarity

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan, from Istanbul

Update from Turkey 6 July 2013:

Justice apparently is not such a strange notion to Turkish protesters as one would expect. It seldom gives a decision that respects international law and basic human rights. Most recently the Istanbul court has ruled that the objection to stopping the court ruling to cancel demolishing of Gezi Park is unlawful and that the park should be preserved as green space; this decision would set an example for all green spaces that are currently under occupation by construction companies and security forces who try to keep civilian protesters away from green spaces. Although this declaration might seem hopeful, and appear to be a final decision regarding all events surrounding Gezi, it actually is a ruling that is still open-ended. There might yet be a final opposition to the court ruling and even a change of the law to invalidate the court decision.

In fact it is a general problem that laws are interpreted in a very liberal manner, usually in favor of the government. While it is a very common phrase to hear from the Prime Minister or members of the cabinet “I have given orders to my judges, they will handle this issue delicately,” for the remainder of society, justice remains a dream far away on the horizon.  Not only can one not actually observe constitutional rights and liberties being respected, but no one can actually see any kind of protection of civil rights unless it is in strong alliance with or an integral part of the governing AKP.

Most recently, concerning civil liberties and constitutional rights, the Istanbul Chief of Police, Huseyin Capkin, declared that whoever goes against the law will face tough consequences. While this statement might sound promising to many, it has a follow-up. “Those who aim to turn any event into a protest, or organize a rally, will of course face intervention. Gezi Park is open to public visit as long as there is no political agenda. We will allow a return to normality once people stop turning the park into a political atmosphere. Otherwise, of course we will intervene.”

The police forces in general misinterpret any law they read. They conclude that any kind of protest is against the law, as they have been ordered to stop any anti-government protest. Moreover, they take liberties in interpreting the Turkish Language Association’s definition of a coup, which concludes that “any attempt to force a government out of office through democratic means or by force is a coup.”

The injustices caused by police forces do not end there; as one looks at the arrest notices in Izmir concerning the Twitter users, it can be seen that they were arrested without any court approval to perform any kind of surveillance or control of their online written material. Obviously what happened was that police took the liberty of spying on people’s written online material and arrested them under the suspicion that they might be “insulting to the state.”

The majority of the people who were arrested in Izmir were accused of being members of the main opposition party, CHP (Republican People’s Party), IP (Labor Party), TKP (Turkish Communist Party), ÖDP (Freedom and Democracy Party), or NGOs varying from Kemalist groups to socialist groups, as well as labor unions.

The police reports concerning Gezi conclude that the media are partially responsible for everything, through not reporting and causing the social media to replace the regular media, which are much more controllable through governmental force. Moreover, the university senates were accused of participating in a “coup attempt” against the government by allowing opposition voices into the forefront of representation of the educational institutions.

While all protesters have been declared “terrorists” by the government and accepted as such by the police, the riot police who participated in the “quest” to end civilian protests were given 24 wage bonus payments for their “positive contributions to the suppression of revolts.” The biggest bonus payment – over 3,000€ – was given to the chief of the Istanbul riot police, for sending out a text message that glorifies all the violence carried out by the police against civilians, and calling their acts “a legend in the history of Turkey.”

While what prevails in Turkey at the moment is basically authoritarian, and even quasi-military, rule without complete participation of the military, it cannot be declared to be such and continues to be called “democratic” under heavy police-state guarantees. While a majority of the people in government continue to defy the military intervention in Egypt, they do not shy away from calling the military into action against peaceful protesters who are petitioning for recognition of their democratic rights and guarantees of internationally recognized freedoms.

Lastly, concerning Egypt and hearing the concerns of the Turkish authorities, it is important to cite the Turkish Language Association’s definition of the word “coup,” of historical importance to the situation:

Coup: “Ousting a government through use of force or democratic means; change of political system”

MORE STORIES by Gürkan Özturan http://radicaldemocrat.blog.com

MORE UPDATES RE: TURKEY @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND DAILY UPDATES ON TURKEY:

OccupyGezi @ https://www.rebelmouse.com/OccupyGezi/

Show Support for Turkey and LIKE and SHARE this Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/Gezisolidarity

FOR DAILY LIVESTREAM UPDATES ON TURKEY AND WORLD EVENTS:

Occupy World News Network (OWNN) @ http://www.livestream.com/occupyworldnewsnow Read the rest of this entry →

by GREYDOG

Turkey: Kurds’ Turn to Protest Government Violence

4:39 pm in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Provinces of Turkey that are identified by Encyclopaedia of Islam as Turkish Kurdistan.

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan, from Istanbul

Update from Turkey 28-06-13:

The problem currently facing Turkey that has been the most harmful and has the longest background has been the conflicts with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party). A major attempt at a solution had been the “Peace Process” that gave hope to millions across the country. Although the government had taken steps in negotiating a peace process with PKK, mobilizing the wise people across the country and promising peace for future, in the meantime more police “fortresses,” under the name of border outposts (far away from any borderline) have been constructed.

While the people of southeastern cities have been against the fortified police posts, the constructions had been going on throughout the process. There are claims that they were being built because the construction companies that won the tendering belonged to AKP members.

The history of the fortresses is infamous, especially among the Kurdish population and the leftists in the region, as they have been home to several mass graves for dozens of people in the last three decades, as well as occasional “accidental” shootings of people. In 1993, the town of Lice had been completely burned down by counter-terror teams and many people had “disappeared”.

While regional security is something the state needs to supply, when the people of the region do not feel secure with the presence of the state forces it is hardly achievable. As the Uludere massacre still remains to be investigated, and remembering that (as PM Erdogan stated) no soldiers would carry out any operation without his knowledge and on orders of the Minister of Interior, the Lice shootings caused further unease.

When the construction of one such police post was being protested yesterday in Lice/Diyarbakir, national security forces fired on people, and an 18-year-old died and 10 were wounded, with three of them in critical condition. The bullet marks were in the backs of most of the people who were shot with bullets.

The local governor told the press that the security forces only opened fire shooting into the air and that civilians must have shot each other in order to put the blame on soldiers. The mainstream media gave the breaking news with the following headline: “Soldiers open fire in the air, one dead, 5 wounded.” Later on the mainstream media continued to refer to the local Governor’s and state officials’ statements describing the protesters as “terrorists” and saying that they attacked the soldiers.

If this terrible event had happened a month ago, the majority of the people in the west would have taken the word of state officials and mainstream media. Yet this time, the social media played a major role once again and the Gezi protesters mobilized and took to the streets to protest the bullets fired in Lice. While government officials declared this part of a conspiracy to end the peace process, the majority of the people on the streets seemed to have no problem with the Kurdish population in terms of civil peace.

Thousands of people marched till late hours in many western cities and showed their support for the people of Lice, including the nationalist groups that have stopped believing the news from the mainstream media. Even the former “hawks” of the nationalist groups have started using a more peaceful vocabulary. The ethnic Kurdish party BDP had already declared that the Kurds would soon take to the streets to demand acceleration of the peace process and a halt to construction of further military posts. Now it has already naturally joined in with the Gezi protesters in solidarity against state-instigated violence. Read the rest of this entry →